Court of Appeal of Quebec

Demers c. R.

April 20, 2018


Bouchard, Schrager, Cohen (ad hoc)

Appeals from convictions and the sentence. Dismissed.

The appellant was convicted on 11 counts of sexual offences involving 5 complainants. He alleges that the trial judge erred in failing to order separate trials, on the admissibility of similar fact evidence, and on the credibility of witnesses.

With respect to the argument concerning holding separate trials, the criteria set out in R. v. Last (S.C. Can., 2009-10-15), 2009 SCC 45, SOQUIJ AZ-50579351, J.E. 2009-1893, [2009] 3 S.C.R. 146, which weigh in favour of a joint trial, are substantially predominant. The judge was therefore correct in ordering a single trial.

As for the ground related to similar fact evidence, the judge reasonably exercised his discretion after scrupulously going through each step of the approach established by the Supreme Court in R. v. Handy (S.C. Can., 2002-06-21), 2002 SCC 56, SOQUIJ AZ-50134221, J.E. 2002-1226, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 908. There is no palpable and overriding error allowing for appellate intervention.

Finally, the ground concerning the credibility of witnesses must also be dismissed because the appellant does not allege any error but merely points out minor contradictions and unimportant collateral facts that were already taken into account by the trial judge.

Regarding the appeal of the total sentence of 42 months imposed on him, the appellant claims that the judge erred in dismissing his motion to stay proceedings due to unreasonable delay.

In the second footnote of R. v. Jordan (S.C. Can., 2016-07-08), 2016 SCC 27, SOQUIJ AZ-51302609, 2016EXP-2173, J.E. 2016-1212, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 631, in reply to the question of whether the protection afforded by s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (R.S.C. 1985, App. II, No. 44, Schedule B, Part I) extends to sentencing proceedings, the Supreme Court answered in the affirmative. However, it left open the question of whether delays occurring after the verdict should be included in the calculation of the applicable 18- and 30-month ceilings, depending on the court in question. In R. v. Rice (C.A., 2018-02-09), 2018 QCCA 198, SOQUIJ AZ-51466553, 2018EXP-452, the Court of Appeal stated that, pursuant to the current state of the case law, delays related to sentencing are not included in the ceilings. Section 11(b) may apply if, for example, sentencing proceedings drag on, regardless of the issue of ceilings. In the present case, however, the delays related to the sentencing process are normal. The trial judge’s calculation of the delays should nevertheless be corrected.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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